The Coalition for the Protection of Children and the Red Cross recommend an 11 point checklist for parents sending their children to camps. *iStock photo
The Coalition for the Protection of Children and the Red Cross recommend an 11 point checklist for parents sending their children to camps. *iStock photo

New guidelines on child safety at holiday camps have been drawn up by two charities.

The Coalition for the Protection of Children’s Nicola Feldman said: “Many parents are unaware that there is no formal licensing for camps.”

She added: “We are trying to be proactive as opposed to being critical — if we do this as the initial step then we can follow it a bit more.

“We’re trying to highlight that there are no regulations by doing this, but instead of being critical, we’re saying to parents they should do their due diligence and that there should be regulations in force.

“It does need to be regulated – but it needs the Government manpower to do it.”

The Coalition, working with the Bermuda Red Cross, recommends an 11 point checklist for parents sending their children to camps, the first of which will start up over the Easter school vacation.

Among the recommendations – adapted from Department of Health guidelines – are that the camp operator is at least 21 years old and has two years’ experience working with children.

Another said that staff should be at least 16 years old and trained in the areas of CPR, first aid and childminding. The Red Cross runs specially-tailored training courses.

Staff/child ratio

The joint guidelines added that there should be a ratio of one staff member for every 10 children aged 5-8 while there should be one adult in charge for every 12 children aged 9-14, which should be maintained at all times.

In addition, organisers should ensure the camp site is free from any health and safety concerns and have sufficient shaded areas and that both indoor and outdoor spaces are provided, with the indoor site allowing at least 25 square feet per child.

Ms Feldman added: “The Coalition for the Protection of Children will ensure that all camps where they assist with the camp fees will adhere to these guidelines and encourages parents to do the same.”

And she said that the Red Cross would team up with the Coalition to run a one-day course in CPR/First Aid/Childminding on Friday, March 15, for eligible camp leaders.

The guidelines also list a minimum of one flush toilet and one washbasin for every 15 children and that a fully-stocked first aid box is always available. Other recommendations are that food storage or shelving should be at least ten inches above the floor, that sufficient drinking water is provided and that activities should be “age appropriate.”

And the guidelines said that, for swimming and other water activities, there should one staff member for every six children over the age of five and that staff supervising these activities should be strong swimmers.

Camp supervisors should also have access to transport throughout the camp in case of an emergency and that vehicles are equipped with suitable, age-appropriate seating. n

Anyone interested in attending the Red Cross/Coalition training session on safety should contact 295 1150.